The Joy of Fastpass 2
Welcome to the new Joy of FASTPASS thread designed as an update of the previous thread on this topic to provide you with the latest Fastpass system details. Be sure to check out the official Disneyland Fastpass Page for a basic understanding of how the system works.
The System Overview
The Fastpass system is a program created by Disney to allow guests to skip the lines on some of The Disneyland Resort's most popular attractions. Near the entrance of each Fastpass attraction there is a row of machines into which you insert your park ticket. When you get a Fastpass you must either wait until it's return window or two hours (whichever is shorter) before you can obtain a new Fastpass for another attraction. This two hour rule does not apply for the same attraction however, meaning that you cannot obtain a second Fastpass for an attraction until the original is valid to be used. If after inserting your ticket the machine determines that you meet these two criteria it will print you a small piece of paper with a one hour time window to return during. Return to the attraction within the window and you will be allowed to enter a separate Fastpass queue with a much shorter wait.
Don't worry too much if this seems confusing as the ticket you will receive shows both what time you must return to the attraction and what time you can get another Fastpass clearly on the front. Also note that the number of Fastpasses an attraction will give out for a specific window of time is limited. As people receive Fastpasses, the return window gradually bumps forward in five minute increments. There are large signs at each attraction's Fastpass distribution area to tell you what return window is currently being offered. Some of the more popular attractions will exhaust their entire supply of Fastpasses by around noon on busy days.
Now that we have established the basics, there are some finer details about the system that make using it more advantageous.
First, each of The Disneyland Resort Parks is its own network. This means that obtaining Fastpasses in either Disneyland or Disney California Adventure will not in any way affect getting Fastpasses at the other.
Second, one or two attractions in each park are also not linked to each of their own park networks. What this means is that these attractions only do the first of the two tests mentioned above (Does this guest have a Fastpass for this attraction already) without checking to see if that guest has another Fastpass for any other attractions. Until recently, this was a "secret" until Radiator Springs Racers Fastpass tickets suddenly began printing with a message telling guests that they are able to acquire another Fastpass Ticket for other attractions right away in December 2012. Note that Disney has in the past changed which attractions were un-networked so this is subject to change.
Third, World of Color Fastpasses do not affect attraction Fastpasses in any way at either park. So much so that rumors originally suggested that they would not even be called Fastpasses in order to reduce confusion. However, whether it be trademark issues or brand strengthening, Disney chose to go with the same name. Visit this thread for more complete information on World of Color and it's Fastpass system.
Disney California Adventure
| Networked ||Networked |
|Big Thunder Mountain** ||Goofy's Sky School |
|Indiana Jones Adventure ||Soarin' Over California |
|Splash Mountain ||Tower of Terror |
|Space Mountain ||Grizzly River Run** |
|Haunted Mansion Holiday* || |
|Star Tours || |
| || |
|Not Networked ||Not Networked |
|Autopia ||Radiator Springs Racers |
|Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin ||California Screamin |
*Christmas version Oct through early Jan only. Regular version does not offer Fastpass
**This attraction has been un-networked in the past
The last trick is that the expiry return time for Fastpasses does not actually matter (this may be subject to change in the coming months, please read comments on this thread for the best up to date information on whether return times are being upheld). What this means is that if you have a return window for 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm, you can return well after 4:00 pm (say, 9:00 pm) and still be allowed to enter the Fastpass queue. This can have dramatic effects on your visit by allowing you to stock up on Fastpasses for rapid use later on in the evening when queue times tend to be longer.
In early February 2013, signs showed up at Fastpass distribution areas reminding guests to return within the one hour return window printed on each ticket. This confirmed the rumor that such enforcement was coming to the resort.
Our Suggestions and an Example
The biggest suggestion we can give is to get a new Fastpass BEFORE you use your current ones. Once that return window comes around, you are guaranteed the opportunity to get another so you might as well do it before you ride whichever attraction your first Fastpass is for. This is especially true for the non-networked, or independent machines because they only check to make sure that any Fastpasses you have for themselves is already valid for use.
Using a non-networked attraction Fastpass
[note: all time are examples only as the offered return times at each point in the day vary day to day]
Assume that it is now 11:15 am and you hold a valid Fastpass for Roger Rabbit with a return window of 11:05 am to 12:05 pm. Before getting in line, get another for Roger Rabbit. This is possible because this non networked attraction only checks to ensure that any Fastpasses you have for it are already valid and at 11:15 am, the 11:05 am window is already entered. Lets assume that the new Fastpass has a return time of 2:10 pm to 3:10 pm. Ride the attraction and continue touring the park, then when you come back to use your second Fastpass after 2:10, you will now be able to acquire a third before riding!
Shifting focus, lets see how this works with the rest of the resort. Remember that each park is separate and that once you have a networked Fastpass in either park, you cannot get another until either 2 hours have past or the return time comes around (whichever is earlier).
Lets say that it is early in the day and you get your first Fastpass at Splash Mt. at 9:25 am. The return time you receive is from 10:20 am to 11:20 am. Because that return time is less than an hour away, your Fastpass ticket informs you that you will be able to get another Fastpass at 10:20 am.
After touring the park, you find yourself back at Splash Mt. at 10:30. You get a second Splash Mt. Fastpass before riding with a return time window between 2:40 pm and 3:40 pm. Your Fastpass ticket now informs you that your next Fastpass ticket will be available at 12:30 pm (two hours after 10:30) because the 2:40 pm return time is well over two hours away. Remember though that you still will not be able to get a Fastpass for Splash Mt. until 2:40 pm regardless.
Because it is likely that you don't want to get soaked a third time in one morning, plan ahead! You could grab a Fastpass at Indiana Jones right at 12:30 before walking over to Splash Mt. for your second ride.
Not enough action? Before you got that Indiana Jones Fastpass at 12:30, hop over to Taste Pilot Grill for an early lunch and Grab a Soarin over California Fastpass while you are there. Remember that your existing Disneyland Fastpasses do not count toward DCA. Then, hop back over and get the Indiana Jones Fastpass as suggested before riding Splash a second time.
To make this even more complex, you could also have gotten a Radiator Springs Racers (non-networked) Fastpass and still been able to get that Soarnin Over California pass because the non networked attraction doesn't count. If you are a sprinter, you could also have hustled up to Toontown and acquired a Roger Rabbit (un-networked) pass without affecting the other Disneyland Fastpasses you have or planned to get.
Another thing to consider is Single Rider Passes. If you do not want/need to ride with anyone else, you can use a single rider line at Splash Mt., Grizzly River Run, Soarin' Over California, California Screamin', Goofy's Sky School, The Matterhorn, and Radiator Springs Racers. Single riders are slotted into odd empty seats on attraction vehicles where possible. The idea is that no seats go untaken meaning that those single riders do not have to wait in line themselves. The goal is to bring down wait times if only a little bit. With the exception of Soarin' Over California, single rider wait times are often shorter than Fastpass waits.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless when you are comfortable with the system. Keep tabs on your Fastpasses and you will be able to get a lot more out of your Disneyland Resort Trip! To sum it all up, remember that there are at least four places you can have Fastpasses from at any one time consisting of a networked and non-networked Fastpass from each Park.